Lactoferrin in infant formulas: Effect on oxidation

M. T. Satue-Gracia, E. N. Frankel, N. Rangavajhyala, J. B. German

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Lactoferrin is an iron transport protein present in human milk at an average concentration of 1.4 mg/mL. Commercially modified infant formulas based on cow's milk contain much lower amounts of lactoferrin (0.1 mg/mL lactoferrin) and soy based formulas have none. In addition to its role in iron transport, lactoferrin has bacteriostatic and bactericidal activities. Infant formulas are supplemented with relatively large amounts of iron (up to 12 mg/L). The effect of various concentrations of added lactoferrin and supplemental iron on lipid oxidation was tested in two different infant formulas. The extent of oxidation in the formulas as a function of time was determined by formation of hydroperoxides, production of hexanal, and fluorescence. On the basis of all three of these determinations, lactoferrin acted as an antioxidant in the absence and presence of different concentrations of supplemented iron. Lactoferrin inhibited oxidation in a concentration-dependent manner even at concentrations beyond its capacity to bind iron at its two high affinity binding sites. Lactoferrin can be used, therefore, as a dual purpose additive in infant formulas and similar food products for its antioxidant and its antimicrobial properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4984-4990
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2000


  • Antioxidant activity
  • Infant formula
  • Iron supplementation
  • Iron-binding activity
  • Lactoferrin
  • Oxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Lactoferrin in infant formulas: Effect on oxidation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this